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September 2012

Change is the constant, excellence the central requirement: New degree programs serve students and through them, our world

It's fall, and campus is abuzz with new students and faculty. It's a great time to review changes at UT Dallas over the past few years and to consider where we are headed. As we go about our work to bring the University to a full realization of its potential in service to students and by extension, our society, it's clear that change is the only constant, and that excellence is a central requirement of our success.

This fall we are enrolling students in several new degree programs that place us ahead of the curve in today's rapidly changing global environment. UT Dallas works to serve its students by offering programs that emphasize multidisciplinary endeavors in coursework and result in degrees that are not only marketable, but also support our graduates' ongoing development as creators, innovators and leaders when they enter the workforce.

Consider systems engineering—the newest department in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and a partnership between the Jonsson School and the Naveen Jindal School of Management. This endeavor focuses on the design and management of complex engineering systems over their lifecycles, partnering elements of two of UT Dallas' key academic offerings—management and engineering.

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Regent Brenda Pejovich (at podium)
with 2012 graduating class members.

This program by its very structure expresses an important aspect of the most pressing challenges ahead of our society, challenges that are multifaceted and bridge aspects of technology, economics, social and natural sciences. By recognizing and considering such connections and by providing new opportunities for students to study them, UT Dallas models academic innovation and provides best service to both society and students.

Another relatively new program, mechanical engineering, graduated its first undergraduate class in May and its first graduate class in fall 2011. Many of these academic pioneers received promising job offers at major corporations including Texas Instruments, the Bosch Group and Aker Solutions.

A third example of the programs that distinguish UT Dallas and offer its students something they can't find anywhere else: Arts and Technology, and Emerging Media and Communication. These two highly innovative degree programs explore and expand upon some of the newest breakthroughs in technologies and trends involving mobile application development and award-winning "serious games," including computerized training programs for the military and health care industries.

While the mere popularity of these programs would seem to indicate something about their value, as an engineer, I like to see the numbers. Statistics from our Career Center offer a sense of the demand for the kinds of graduates who emerge from UT Dallas:

  • 88.4 percent of the 2010-2011 graduating class reported employment or continuing education upon graduation.
  • 16 of the 20 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the DFW area recruit UT Dallas students.
  • 15 of the 20 Most Profitable Companies (as reported by Fortune 500 online) recruit UT Dallas students.

As these newest programs grow and flourish by serving students' career interests, they simultaneously provide new expertise, imaginative thinking, and problem solving to improve our communities and our world. I'm very proud of our deans and our faculty, and their ongoing commitment to creating a future we'll all be glad to share.

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About This Newsletter

The President’s Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.